UK university application rate, by university standard & applicant social background

This statistic shows the application rates of 18 year old pupils from England to United Kingdom (UK) universities in 2013, by university tariff and how advantaged or disadvantaged the applicant was (POLAR2). Detailed explanations of these measures can be found below. Most disadvantaged applicants, those in POLAR2 Q1, applied to those universities with lower entry requirements - the lower tariff institutions. The largest difference in application rates between the most advantaged groups and the most disadvantaged groups was for the higher tariff institutions. 8.5 percent of applicants from the lowest quintile and 36.5 percent of those from the highest quintile applied to these institutions. In contrast to the lower tariff institutions, 15.7 percent of Q1 students and 24.3 percent of Q5 students applied.

University application* rate of English 18 year olds in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2013, by university tariff** and applicant POLAR2 quintile***

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Release date

July 2013


United Kingdom

Survey time period

March 2013

Supplementary notes

* March deadline
** UCAS splits universities into three categories called 'tariffs'. The tariff that a university is in is determined by the average level of attainment of their accepted applicants. The level of attainment is measured using the UCAS tariff points that students get according to their qualifications at the time of application (e.g. A-levels). The higher tariff institutions are those which demand a higher level of attainment in comparison to those in the medium and lower tariffs.
*** POLAR2 is a measure of participation in higher education at local area level and is used by the source as a measure of how advantaged or disadvantaged applicants are. If participation rates are low in an area, applicants from this part of the country are considered more disadvantaged than those from areas with high participation rates. Areas are categorised accordingly into quintiles - Q1 consists of the most disadvantaged areas while Q5 is made up of the most advantaged. As way of example, Byker in Newcastle-upon-Tyne has a participation rate of 10.2 percent and is therefore in Q1. The West end of London has a rate of 92.9 percent and is in Q5.
You can find more information at the Higher Education Funding Council for England website:

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